German survivors of Madeira bus crash to be flown home

The bus crash on Wednesday killed 29 German tourists

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas addresses the media outside the hospital in Funchal, the capital of Portugal’s Madeira Island, Thursday April 18, 2019 after visiting people injured in the bus crash. All the 29 people killed in a bus crash on Portugal’s Madeira Island were German, Portugal’s foreign ministry confirmed Thursday. The bus carrying 55 people, all but two of them German tourists, rolled down a steep hill after veering off the road on a bend east of Madeira’s capital, Funchal, on Wednesday evening when it was still light and in fine weather. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

A German plane is expected to arrive on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Friday to take home survivors from a bus crash that killed 29 German tourists.

Sixteen people remain hospitalized, including a Portuguese driver and a guide who were on the bus with 53 tourists on Wednesday afternoon when it veered off the road and plunged down a slope.

READ MORE: B.C. trucker pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal Manitoba crash

Late Thursday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said a plane and medical crew were being readied to go to the island, which is 580 miles (935 kilometres) east of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean.

Investigators suspect that a stuck accelerator pedal could have been the cause of the crash that occurred only some 250 metres (820 feet) after the bus had left the hotel where the German guests were staying, Portugal’s TVI reported.

The broadcaster, citing anonymous sources from the prosecution-led investigation, said authorities would wait to complete the probe before releasing final conclusions.

Maas said that the bodies of the deceased would be transported to Germany once they are properly identified, a process that has to be done “with the utmost care to avoid any mistakes.”

“I hope we can do that as soon as possible,” Maas told reporters after visiting the injured in Madeira’s capital, Funchal. He also laid flowers at the site of the crash with his Portuguese counterpart, Augusto Santos Silva.

Portugese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was expected to visit the injured and the crash site on Friday.

A German Lutheran Church in Funchal is also holding an afternoon Mass to honour the victims and pray for the recovery of the injured, TVI reported.

___

AP reporter Aritz Parra contributed from Madrid.

Armando Franca, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

No boozing while BC Ferries cruising

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

BC Coroners Service in early stages of investigation into death of Saanich student

British Columbia recorded 293 deaths of children in 2016, according to 2018 report

Langford fire douses six fires in two days – five from cigarette butts

‘The world is not a personal ashtray’ says fire chief

Saanich school grapples with death of 13-year-old

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

Yoga takes over Legislature lawn

International Day of Yoga celebration runs Friday from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Nanaimo a prime market for new plane, Air Canada says

Vice-president previews Airbus A220, praises Nanaimo’s growth in passenger numbers

RCMP deploys special unit in Comox Valley to combat organized crime

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit spends four days targeting organized crime in Courtenay

B.C. temporarily halts resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

Students disciplined after anti-LGBTQ signs posted in Kamloops high school

Vessy Mochikas, SD73’s principal for inclusive education, called incident a learning opportunity

Most Read